Before going abroad, I wasn't quite sure about the academic rigor abroad. I didn't know it would be similar to American style of classes or of it would be something completely different. To my surprise, I actually liked the Argentinian style of academics. On Monday through Thursday (didn't have school on Friday) I would wake up around 7:15am for a 20-40 minute commute to school. I would generally end the day around 3:00-4:00pm. The great thing was that my weekend started at 12:30pm on Thursday so I could use the weekend to travel. I like the style of school so that each 3-credit class would be held on one day. However with this method, I had to make sure to stay on top of my studies because only having class once a week was way different then I was used to. In addition, college in Argentina is way more independent in a lot of ways. Most students live at home so the whole sense of college being a community, that is fostered in America, is quite foreign to them. That being said, there are many extra curricular actives or even a traditional campus in that sense.
The international classes in English were relatively the same amount of work as my home university. Much of the workload consisted of readings. There was rarely homework which may come to a surprise for some. Although many may favor this, it may be difficult for some to adjust to because of the amount of self-discipline and self-management it is. I enrolled in one direct enrollment class within the University. The class was in Spanish for 4.5 hours every Thursday. The great part the class is that I learned a whole new host of business jargon and acumen in Spanish. Like most classes, the grades consisted of two major test--the midterm and the final. That being said, students are given to pass if he or she did not perform well the first time.
My program director gave an immense amount of support. She was very hands-on and made sure that I was always doing well. She assured me that it would take some time to get used to the new way of schooling but that I would pick up on it soon enough.
For those concerned about living conditions, if you are independent and social, I would definitely recommend staying with other international students or having your own place. While a home-stay is ideal because it generally comes with prepared meals and stability, I think it took away from me fully being able to experience the culture with people my age. However, my host-mother and I always engaged in great conversation about Argentinian politics and pop culture over dinner. I would have rather lived with other international students to learn more about their culture and their abroad experiences. I think you will find that going abroad is much more of the norm in other cultures than it is in America. For many students, Argentina was the last place in their expedition of Latin America. If you would like to rent apartment, they are relatively cheap in comparison America and often come with amenities included.
If you love great beef and empanadas, you are in for a treat. Much of the food has European influences. There are a lot of options ranging from pasta, pizza, asado (grilled beef and chicken), excellent wine, medialunas (croissant like pastries), and sweet alfajores. It may take sometime to get adjusted to the lack of typical American food, but there are a few good wing and burger spots throughout the city. Argentina has some of the best beef I've ever tasted--no seasoning needed. Their artisan style pizza, consumed with fork and knife, may not be your typical experience eating pizza. Take a chance and venture our to the local parillas and fine dining locations. The shawarma may just be your favorite late night food too!
I felt very integrated during my trip. In actuality, it was harder dealing with reverse culture shock upon my return to the States. I met many new people, whose I still communicate with every day. Being a black man, I felt more respect there than in the US in many instances. The culture is laid-back and relaxed, correlating to the slow place of life. The nation is heavily bound together by its love for soccer. As seen during the World Cup, avid "fútbol" fans too the streets to celebrate after each victory. The culture is fun and hip with the nightlife extending early into the morning (around 7:30-8:00am. The people are warm hearted and brought a gregarious side out of me I never knew I had.